Australia is taking the entertainment industry by storm these days. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Australian Singer and Actress, Alixandra Kupcik, to hear about her life as an Aussie in show business and share with you some of her struggles and triumphs.
You are a Singer and an Actress who has created two sell out one woman shows in Australia where you incorporated your singing and acting talents. What inspired your creative process?
My first one woman show “New York a State of Mind” as you probably may guess by the title was inspired by the greatest city in the world, NYC. I had been spending a lot of time in NYC during my early 20s immersing myself in the culture, learning from the best and I instantly feel in love with the theaters and Jazz venues. Its a city of immense opportunity for Actors and Singers. There are more jazz venues and theaters in one street in NYC then in the whole of Sydney and there is an intimate atmosphere which I wanted to bring to life in my own city. So I decided to write about my experiences in NYC whilst creating that unique quality one can only find in a NYC Jazz joint. It all began in a very serendipitous way so I just trusted my creative instinct and went with it. I like to believe fate played a huge part in my first show.
How did fate play a part in the making of “New York a State of Mind”?
My mother was a singer with the likes of Shirley Bassey and other international club acts in Sydney during the 60s and 70s when Sydney was considered a mini Vegas due to its amazing club circuit. As a child mum was always telling me about the great venues she would sing in like “The Texas Tavern”, “Checkers” and “The Chevron.” None of which exist anymore. Their was one place however, which still existed, The Old El Rocco Jazz Room, otherwise known as “Bar Me.” Liza Minelli and Frank Sinatra would sing there. After a week back in Sydney, my agent at the time encouraged me to go to one of their open mic nights. I went, I sang “My Funny Valentine” The well known Australian director and actor Gerry Sont was in the audience and as soon as the song finished he offered to direct me and the venue had no objections at all . So Gerry and I got to work and three months later we had a sell out show. What made it really serendipitous was that “My Funny Valentine” was the song my mother sang which launched her career decades before in much the same way it launched mine.
Wow! So did you also inherit your acting talents from your mother?
My family are all great storytellers, my father who is a Czech immigrant would have to be the greatest story teller I know. The man deserves an Oscar! My mothers family were involved in the Tivoli, which at the time was Sydneys answer to the Moulin Rouge. My great uncle was the stage manager and my grandmother was an immensely talented dancer/singer/actor and my mother, from the age of 4 would dance and sing at the Tivoli. Professionally I certainly inherited my talents from my maternal side.
You not only starred and wrote your second One Woman Show “Reflections” you also produced and directed the production which was performed in Sydney and Melbourne in 2010. Tell us about that experience.
It was incredibly challenging but immensely rewarding. My heart and soul went into it. Everything was essentially my responsibility. I was carrying a big load on and off the stage and it was terrifying and thrilling. I am so incredibly proud of that show. In my first show I was still a girl by my second show I had developed a confidence and maturity that added so much quality to my voice and insight into my story telling. On a personal level I am enormously proud of “Reflections.” I believe this show allowed me to demonstrate how much i had grown as an Actress and a Singer.
You have performed in a number of established productions in Australia, including SHAKESPEARE BY THE SEA, which ive hear is similar to SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK in NYC, CHEKOVS, THREE SISTERS, the American Playwright A.R Gurneys THE DINING ROOM, the renowned international play fesitval SHORT + SWEET, and most recently JACK HIBBERDS legendary Aussie play DIMBOOLA. What has been your favorite production?
Ive loved them all! I am engrossed in every play I do. I love the process, the discoveries and by nature I am an intense reader so I love the research aspect of rehearsal. The Dining Room was one of my first plays, I was playing 5 different characters, I was 21 and loving it. Go Theatre, who are now the successful Independent Theatre Company really knew how to put on a show and I remember always feeling like I was apart of something special. The company are now running the Old Fitz Theatre which is an iconic theater space in Sydney and has housed some exceptional, well known talent. Shakespeare by the Sea was also another highlight for me. The late David MacSwan ran the production successfully for 25 years before his untimely death on the opening night of what was the last season. I played the challenging role of the nurse and I really believed it is because of him that role is one of my best roles to date. Then I would switch the next night to Provost in Measure for Measure. It was successful because he believed in his actors and loved Shakespeare more then anyone ive ever met. Chekov has always resonated well with me ( I think mainly because of my Czech background) and it was exciting to work with Liz Arday of Factotum Theatre, she has worked with the best of the best in Sydney. My last production, DIMBOOLA was a sell out success and the energy the audience gave to the actors was superb. I loved how the fourth wall was completely down the whole time. DIMBOOLA is about a wedding in a small country town and it was so much fun to interact with the audience to create the reality of the play.
Your favorite film role to date?
One of my first films was playing the role of “Eve” in the short film of the same name. Raquelle David was the producer. Raquelle has had great success working with Rosemary Blight on the Box Office hit THE SAPPHIRES. Eve was a wonderful experience as Raquelle is incredibly passionate and invested in her work which is no doubt the reason for her success to date.
What does this accomplished Aussie have on the horizon?
Well I can’t say too much but I am looking forward to a couple of feature film projects in the USA where I will be playing the lead. I cant wait to start shooting!
Last, but not least, what do you love most about Australia?
The beaches. They really are magnificent. Sydney is like a resort style city. Its a world class city with the most beautiful beaches in the world. Just like everyone has to see NYC at least once in their life they must also see Sydney at least once too.